BLACKBURN Empire Theatre is one of nine theatres, galleries, performance groups, arts organisations, museums and local venues across Lancashire getting funding from the latest round of funding from The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council.

It was announced yesterday that a further 588 cultural and creative organisations are to receive a share of £76 million in the latest round of funding from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The funding is for local venues facing the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, to ensure they have a sustainable future and continue to bring joy to local communities and international audiences.

It will help organisations create work and performances, and plan for reopening. Although many were still active in lockdown, using creative ways to reach audiences.

The funding distributed today follows £257 million awarded to 1385 organisations on Monday.

Blackburn Empire Theatre have been given £108,000 while The Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth Textile Collections will pocket £69,411, JP Promotions in Haslingden get £100k and Chorley Little Theatre will receive £51,025.

Michael Berry, chairman of Blackburn Empire Theatre, said: “If I was a bit younger I would be doing cartwheels about the news but I am not.

“It is a wonderful feeling as we have been fighting an invisible enemy in coronavirus for the past seven months.

“We have had to rely on our own fundraising and not got lots of money. But this is wonderful news as people have worked to build it up from a shell but people who are not working are not able to give money as they would.

“We are really grateful for it and the money will mean a few things as we have had artists lined up for next year, a pantomime sorted and we can now go ahead with that.

“We have also spent a lot of money on PPE to be COVID secure.

“Also we will not have to lay-off any of our workers.

“The news has made the enthusiasm of our volunteers and workers rise again.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time.

“Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations.

“These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”

Sarah Maxfield, Area Director North, Arts Council England said: “The pandemic has had a massive impact on the whole range of organisations working in the North’s cultural sector - theatres, music venues, festivals, museums and the companies who support them with technical sound, light and staging services. The cultural sector makes a huge contribution to The North’s economy, quality of life and communities.

We are announcing much needed investment and support from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund to a group of organisations across the North - with more announcements in the coming weeks - providing an essential lifeline so the cultural sector can survive and come back strongly in the future.”